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Blade Runner Blues

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I've started writing a Blade Runner fanfic, and thought I would post it up here. If you like it or hate it . . . have ideas or comment and ideas, please post in, as your comments really help.

This is just the very beginning. I'm not sure where it's going, but I had to get something started. We see into the life of our favorite Blade Runner in the weeks before the events of the incredible film by Sir Ridley Scott.

STORY CONTENT HAS BEEN EDITED IN FIRST POST

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Blade Runner Blues

© 2007 Ward Jones

The dark blue Spinner deftly slipped through the man made valley of tall buildings with Gaff’s right hand firmly on the controls as he rubbed his aching leg with the other. Deckard, beside him in the passenger seat, stared out his rain-streaked window across Los Angeles. Even now, in the persistent showers and darkness, it was a beautiful view.

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He spoke to Gaff without turning his head from the window, “You think it’s a fool’s dream . . . don’t you?”

Gaff thought silently for a moment, then responded carefully in the blended mishmash city-speak language of the streets, “I think it’s good to have dreams, but this one is quite an aspiration. You really want a horse? They’ve been extinct for years, and the synthetic ones are outrageously expensive.”

Both men fell silent. Deckard’s old neighbor had come home with one several months ago, and he had been dreaming of owning one ever since. His own synthetic sheep, for which he had worked very hard and waited very patiently, was nice and he knew he should have been happy with it, but he found himself dreaming of owning the horse nonetheless.

The discouragement on his face was reflected in the window glass, and Gaff spoke again as he began the Spinners descent toward the streets below, “I just don’t see how owning a horse is a realistic dream for you. Real ones are extremely rare, and on your salary, as far as a synthetic one is concerned, you might as well be dreaming of owning a Centaur or a Unicorn, my good man. You have about as much chance of obtaining those elusive, mythical beasts as you do your horse. Men have sought after elusive myths such as these for centuries and never found them because they do not exist. If they did, and anyone were lucky enough to find one, or anything as rare, they would run away with it and never come back."

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There was a moment of silence before Gaff continued, looking off out his window, "I’ve come to think that the odds of finding the right woman is in that mythological category as well.” Deckard turned to face Gaff as the vehicle touched down on the street.

Cold eyes stared back as his door raised, folding forward. He pulled the collar of his coat up and said nothing as he stepped out into the rain. The door lowered again, Gaff watching him through the windows as the vehicle rose from the ground and raced away. Deckard glanced back over his shoulder, watching the Spinner disappear into the other traffic as he walked into his apartment building. With any luck, the incessant moisture made Gaff’s bum leg stiffen up and hurt worse.

*

His feet ached with the mileage of the day as he walked into the still darkness of the cave-like apartment. A barely audible electronic humming rose and fell rhythmically. Twin lights in the ceiling above the bar momentarily switched on as he stepped in close to grab a glass and his favorite bottle. The warm light cascading down over him switched off as he walked away, pouring himself a drink and heading toward a comfortable spot on the worn sofa.

He sat slowly, his sore, tired body sinking gradually down into the deep cushions. Ritually, he began unlacing his shoes with one hand as he sipped his whiskey from the heavy, squared glass in the other. The events of the past few weeks raced through his mind as he took another sip from the glass, eyes staring unfocused into nothingness and he placed the half empty bottle on the low table before him.

The warmth of the liquor burned in his chest in sharp contrast to the chill on his skin. He ran his free hand over his face, up over his forehead and through damp hair. Pushing back further into the cushion, he rotated his head slowly, hearing small pops in the bones of his neck. Bright lights streamed in through his blinds as a slow moving blimp passed by, blaring a neon-laden advertisement promising a new life and a new start offworld.

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The sound of rain falling and the dancing spatter of water on his balcony and windows made his dim apartment seem all the more comforting. It never seemed to stop raining anymore, he thought. In his line of work being outside, exposed and among the masses that were left here on Earth, rain was an occupational hazard. Blade Runners endured whatever was necessary to track and retire their mark.

Rick Deckard took another mouthful of the amber whiskey and swallowed as he wondered what his soon-to-be ex-wife, Iran, was doing across town in their home, his home. He wondered if she was taking care of his synthetic sheep. Probably not.

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After years of depression and dependence on the mood organ, she had announced that she couldn’t bear life with him any longer. She was leaving him for a rich, off-world entrepreneur. The blood he came home with on his clothes at the end of the day weighed heavily on her. His attempts to calm her by assuring her it wasn’t real blood, only Replicant blood, hadn’t made things any better. Like it or not, “Retiring” illegal Replicants found on Earth was his job. In the end she saw him as little more than a killer, and she had had enough.

He was sure she had been using the time to pack and get her papers in order for her emigration, if she wasn’t gone already. He didn’t know and didn’t care. He had pushed the memories of their life together to the back of his mind. His dreams of one day owning a real animal were no longer practical. Living animals were very expensive and very rare. Now that he was alone and entertained thoughts of quitting his job, that little dream may be some time coming, if ever.

He marveled at how the need for his job had been born from the push of progress in the development of synthetic life. The Tyrell Corporation had been making Replicants for years, but only in the leap forward seen in the last 3 generations had they become so indistinguishable from human life that specific testing had to be developed to discern one from the other. The Voight-Kampf empathy test was the latest in a line of detection tools. Dave Holden, he himself, and others in the Rep Detect unit used it as a regular part of their job, but they all had their doubts as to how long it would remain effective with the new advances.

Replicants were manufactured on Earth and sent to the off-world colonies either as support personnel for the labor forces creating new colony infrastructures, various combat teams or military units settling new areas, or as a pleasure model in one of several levels of entertainment services. It all depended on their programming. No matter what their individual destinies were, in the end, all were manufactured slaves.

Deckard squeezed his eyes shut hard and then relaxed his face. He had a headache that had conveniently settled piercingly behind his left eye. A slight spasming of the lower lid had been annoying him for hours now, and he wiped his free hand over it in an attempt to end the nearly imperceptible fluttering. As long as Replicants were hard at work, or play, or whatever it was they were designed for, he didn’t care how many were running around. It was when they went off the deep end, fleeing the colonies and making their way back to Earth that they became his problem. Replicants were illegal on Earth, and usually if they had made it this far, some or many had died paving the way for them.

Two weeks off the mood organ, he thought, as he pressed the cool glass to his left eye and stared through the whiskey at his distorted apartment. He was pleased with his decision to quit. While the mood organ was a nice device to have for synthesizing the emotions and moods that accompany pleasure or happiness simply by dialing up that mood, it could be a destructive tool as well. His wife had used the infernal device to amplify her unhappiness and depression.

Even when he had tried to secretly intervene and dial in a day of happiness for her, she had discovered him and reset it for despair. Given his current life circumstances, he was already running the gamut of real moods and emotions without needing the haze of synthetically generated feelings crowding out and numbing him to those real ones already there. He needed to be more in touch with those natural moods and feelings in his head if he ever had any hope of moving on with his life. He moved the glass aside, momentarily looking at the room, then put it back, again altering the view.

Images from his day flashed across his now-closed lids as he finished off the last swallow of whiskey. These images were stuck in his head . . . of all the faces he had looked into while searching, and all the strange looks he had gotten from people passing by as he talked to Holden on his departmental phone. All personal cell phones and other private communication devices had been rendered useless back in 2015 when the last remaining commercial cellular communication satellites had slipped out of their deteriorating orbits and burned up in the atmosphere.

The major communication companies had all moved along with the world government to the colonies, so no one remained behind to launch anything new for private use. The only ones that remained in their higher, more stable orbits were for standardized vid-phone service and official use only. Most everyone left behind on Earth had a vid-phone in their homes and they were readily available on the streets in the remaining populated cities. Global communication had become less important now anyway as more and more people emigrated off-world, and those left behind were leaving the more remote regions and gathering together in communities of diversely mixed cultures.

Now, slipping deeper into the seductive arms of unconsciousness, Deckard's fingers relaxed just enough to allow the squared glass tumbler to gradually slide from his grip and fall silently to the sofa beside him.

* * *

Across the empty voids of space, far away from Earth and the deepening slumber of Rick Deckard, Roy Batty's chest rose and fell quickly, his breathing heavy. Perspiration glistened on his skin as he peered with ice blue eyes through the port to the stars outside the station. He still couldn't get a good view of the fleet that had fired on them, but he rationalized that if the attack was sustained, it could be just the distraction he and the others needed to put his plan in motion. If they could just get to Earth and slip away unnoticed into the uninhabited regions, perhaps one day, when the last people either emigrated or died off, they might inherit the remains of the planet, depleted as it was, as a place to call theirs.

There was another port beyond the launch bays, he thought, as he peered through his own reflection in the glass to the emptiness of space beyond; emptiness that echoed in his heart and mind as he made the connection, eyes dropping slightly, deep in thought. Another new feeling his Replicant slave mind was cataloguing and analyzing.

The thumb on his right hand quivered and spasmed slightly as thoughts of finding freedom and extending his lifespan beyond his current longevity projection surfaced in his head. He dreamed of actually directing the course of his own life, and he knew he would need to make his way to Earth to find these things. In order for that to happen now, the humans that stood in his way would have to die. Then, as if the thoughts simply evaporated, he turned abruptly, giggling like a three year old, and raced off down the gantry past the launch bays heading for the next port.

* * *

A dirigible floated silently across the dark mid-morning sky, searchlights slowly sweeping over the dreary city below as it splashed its enticingly vibrant, multi-colored advertisement of life in the offworld colonies. Messages that spoke of emigration to a new life blared down from the bright display, repeating over and over in several languages as it drifted along, trolling for takers.

Steady rain fell from far above onto the dark, already drenched form that crouched in the filth-ridden alley. It was in hiding between two of the many near-empty, hundred-plus story buildings that made up much of what was left of the decaying downtown area. It was waiting . . . watching. Crowds of people made their way by on the main street, huddled beneath their umbrellas, glow-rods barely illuminating their dim features as they passed by.

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Cars and buses moved through the streets and the occasional Spinner slid past overhead as the last remaining citizens of Los Angeles plodded through their day.

*

As he raced along the old freeway, Deckard could barely see the outline of the huge pyramid-shaped buildings of the Tyrell Corporation in the distance, bright lights on their roofs spraying up into the dark sky. If these pyramids mimicked those of the ancient Egyptians, he thought, then Eldon Tyrell was surely the pharaoh, or king that ruled the Tyrell Empire.

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They had never met, but Deckard knew him to be a man of great power. When he spoke, the police jumped, even Bryant, and Bryant didn’t move, let alone jump, for anyone.

He exited the near-empty remnants of the overgrown highway and headed for the more densely-populated surface streets of the downtown area. He passed several side streets, and made a turn onto a very congested street that doubled as an inner city market. Deckard pulled his car up to the curb and switched off the power. He adjusted the collar of his trench coat up around his neck, buttoning it across his throat as he opened the door and stepped out to the crowded sidewalk. He closed the door and made his way past a man walking with a synthetic eagle on his shoulder. He turned his head as he passed, studying the incredible detail of the bird. Wings fluttered wildly, and the bird shifted its footing on the man’s shoulder as he moved along through the crowd. Deckard pushed his way past three men herding several ostriches along the sidewalk and made his way to an overhanging awning at the retro-electronics store.

Buster Friendly was being broadcast on several dozen screens in the display window. All the antique televisions had slightly differing images. Some were too green, some too purple, several had static invading their distorted edges, while still other screens rolled and flickered randomly. None had a decent picture, he thought, as he worked his way along toward the noodle stand at the corner, but then again maybe that was part of their quaint charm. Patrons seated at the small street-side vendor's counter were enjoying hot broth, noodles, fish heads and other questionable foods under the glare of deathly pale green fluorescent lighting.

He waded through the sidewalk crowd and eventually made his way to an open space under the neon dragon at the end of the counter that stuck out into the mouth of the alley. The warmth of the steamy kitchen washed over his cold face as he looked at the offering of food choices and pointed to a picture, "Noodles. Large . . . and a Tsing Tao beer." The old Asian woman behind the counter nodded slightly and turned to prepare the food as Deckard glanced left, then right at the people on the street. He turned and looked over his shoulder at the sidewalk.

There were only crowds moving past the empty Bradbury building. This place had a fair amount of life during the day, but come nightfall, it was as deserted as any street in Washington D.C. The sound of the beer bottle being placed on the counter brought his attention back to the moment. His bowl of noodles immediately followed the pale beer and was placed before him. He pulled out several bills and placed them in the old woman's hand, hoping it was enough. She smiled, nodding as she moved off toward the next customer.

A long swallow of the cold beer washed down his throat as his phone rang. He flipped it open and lowered the bottle, answering, "This is Deckard". His chopsticks grabbed at some noodles in the bowl, and he lifted them to his mouth as he heard Bryant’s voice on the other end of the line.

"Deck, we just got a tip that there’s a skinjob somewhere in your vicinity." Deckard glanced around, noodles hanging from his lips. He hated that slang term, “skinjob” in place of Replicant, and the people that used it. In history books, Bryant was one of those cops that used to call black men “Niggers”. He sucked the noodles in slowly as Bryant continued, "This one’s a Nexus 6, pal. There won't be time for a VK test. You'll be lucky to retire it at all."

He imagined his fat boss sitting behind his little desk in his little office as he looked around, "6? New generation?"

"Yeah. Tyrell's been busy, and this wave's even harder to identify than the last."

Deckard shot a glance down the street past the bio-recycling vehicle slowly moving his way, and the crowds of pedestrians, and caught sight of the Tyrell Corporate pyramids in the distance.

"Holden's on the way, Deck, don't be an *******. Don’t try to engage it on your own. None of us have had to deal with this generation yet, but from the fact sheets I've just been reading, it's gonna be a real *****. The Replicant in question is part of a combat group from the frontier’s offensive line. The commanding officer said it walked away from the slave barracks last week, gunned down two guards and stole a small supply ship. It landed in the shipyards out near Marina Del Ray two days ago, then killed the dock attendant and cryo service tech that came out to dump the liquid nitrogen from the ship."

"Male or female?" asked Deckard.

Static crackled back over his receiver, and then Bryant's voice, "Male."

“Any idea what it looks like?”

“I’m sending the scan I made from the spec sheets to your phone now.”

"Thanks. Deckard out" he said as Bryant continued talking. He opened the data screen on the phone as the transmitted scan unfurled. It was a bad original picture to begin with, but the rough scan and phone transfer had even further degraded it. He flipped the phone closed. The image was useless to him. He would have to “retire” this Replicant solely based on his experience from doing so to others in the past. He knew what to look for, but this time it would have to be without the aid of the VK test or a visual ID. What if he retired a human by accident?

This job was becoming less and less black and white as Tyrell made his damned Replicants more and more human. ‘More Human than Human’ was their company motto. His eyes scanned the street carefully as he swallowed more beer, and fed more noodles into this mouth, trying to remain calm and appear inconspicuous as he began to feel his stomach flutter as adrenaline was involuntarily pumped into this bloodstream. His heart rate increased. He could see the pulsing in the corners of his vision and hear it in his ears as his body prepared for a possible encounter.

As he drank the last of the beer, he unsnapped the guard strap on the imitation leather holster under his left arm and switched on the power to his Plager Katsumate Series D blaster. The last of the noodles and broth slipped into his mouth from the raised bowl. He placed it on the counter and stepped away into the rain, amid the crowds hoping to spot the Replicant as it tried desperately to avoid detection.

Through the undulating forest of lighted umbrella stems, he surveyed the faces of everyone on the street, those milling around at the front of the Bradbury, the alley. As his eyes swept over the darkened alley, he saw something. It was faint, and only for an instant, but a definite copper-colored retinal reflection from a pair of blinking eyes had come from something hiding behind a trash dumpster.

Human and animal retinas reflected red or green, depending on the source light. Replicant retinas always reflected in a dull, coppery tone. It was just a quirk of the genetically engineered eyes. He hoped he had gotten lucky, and continued his visual scan past the alley and around to the sidewalk so as not to arouse suspicion. He moved back under the awning, walking away from the alley.

As soon as he disappeared behind the corner, the dark form behind the dumpster jumped from its' hiding place and ran deeper into the alley, searching for a way out. It jumped up, grabbing the rusted iron steps of an ancient fire escape hanging overhead and pulled it down to the pavement. Wasting no time, it ran up the stairs and began the climb up the side of the Bradbury.

Deckard eased his head around the corner and glanced toward the dumpster. Bags were now strewn all over the wet pavement and whatever had been hiding was gone. He drew his gun and rounded the corner, catching sight of the moving Replicant several floors above, ascending the black metal ladders. He pulled out his phone and ran down the dark alley toward the fire escape as he voice-dialed Dave Holden.

*

The rain continued to fall as both climbed higher and higher on the rickety fire escape. The Replicant was at least three levels above when Deckard leaned out as far as he could without falling and brought his gun up, firing off a shot at the dark figure. The bricks beside the Replicants head burst in a shower of reddish dust as the bullet narrowly missed. The fleeing figure frantically looked around, then abruptly kicked in a window and slipped inside the building.

Deckard kept coming up the stairs as a shower of glass shards fell to the pavement below.

Raindrops bounced off the metal grating as he carefully ascended the ladder to the level with the broken window. Torn, yellowed curtains blew slightly inside the jagged opening. He backed up to the brick wall beside the broken pane, gun raised, as Holden’s Spinner descended from above.

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He closed his eyes for a second, feeling the raindrops landing on his hair and face; sliding down his cheek; wet between his finger and the trigger.

His friend piloted the vehicle down to the opposite side of the landing where Deckard waited. It stopped its descent, then rotated until the pilot’s door, which was now folding open, was aligned with the edge of the landing. Deckard watched as Holden stepped precariously out of the hovering vehicle and took up a position opposite him on the other side of the window, gun drawn.

Deckard looked quickly inside the broken window, then retreated behind the brick. “It’s clear. You go, I’ll cover you.” He pointed his gun into the room as Holden nodded and reached inside to unlatch the window. It was old and too stuck to properly open. Carefully, he stepped one leg through the jagged opening and continued on through into the inky darkness.

Deckard raised his weapon and followed.

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The room was very dark and the air was thick with dust. Shabby carpeting and padding had been ripped up in strips and left in piles in the corner. Dave moved ahead toward the hallway outside the door as a shadow moved in Deckard’s peripheral vision. He was turning his head to see what it was when the board in the Replicants hand slammed into his face with incredible force, crushing his left eye socket, breaking his nose and spewing blood across the room. A shot rang out as he reflexively squeezed the trigger while falling backward to the floor. Holden spun around firing as Deckard spit out several teeth. Two shots hit the dark figure, but it still moved with incredible speed and strength. It was like nothing either man had seen before in a Replicant.

Blurring through the air, the bloody board again found its mark across the side of Dave’s skull. It knocked him into the wall where he managed to fire one last shot through the heart of his attacker before slumping unconscious to the floor. The Replicant was thrown back against the wall, where he slowly slid to a crouched position. A glistening, bloody trail was smeared down the discolored paint on the wall behind him.

A dazed Deckard, with dust from the floor now smeared across his wet, bloodied face and hair, rolled his head over to look at the injured Replicant and noticed that his synthetic sheep was now in the room, grazing on invisible grass near the corner. Blood trickled into his eye. He blinked it away and looked again. The sheep raised its head and bleated loudly as a stunning white Unicorn crossed behind it and exited into the hallway. A dirigible slowly moved past the building, searchlights streaming in through the window, its recorded message blaring, “A new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies . . . The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure. New climate, recreational facilities . . . absolutely free.”

Like Holden, he finally passed out completely, the last words of the advertisement lost in the haze and loud clap of thunder, which groaned in the dark skies outside the building.

*

The sharp crack of thunder startled him, and Deckard’s eyes flew open. The glass he had been drinking from had fallen on the cushion beside him, and lightning flashed outside his window. He picked up the heavy glass and placed it on the end table. The headache hadn’t gotten any better, he thought to himself as he rubbed his left eye and forehead. What a dream he had been having. Nexus 6? Tyrell’s never going to stop making those damned Replicants he thought. As the leaps forward in the technologies were made, even the tests were becoming more and more inconclusive, making his work that much more difficult and dangerous. There had to be something else he could do.

Maybe he could go offworld and sell high-end animals . . . something . . . anything. There had to be something less nerve-wracking and stressful than this. The job had driven his wife away, and to top it off, he had seen the gimp, Gaff, nosing around Bryant’s office, asking questions about the Blade Runner unit. He’d never make it with a bum leg. He was fed up with the job, all of it. In his frustration he pulled out his phone and started dialing Bryant’s number to quit. Then he stopped himself and closed the phone, pressing it against his forehead just over his closed eyes. He blew out a breath and tossed the phone on the table beside the bottle.

The cushions beneath him were still warm from the heat of his body as he lay back down, burying his face in one and pulling the draped blanket from the back of the sofa down across his shoulders. He descended through murky thoughts of Egyptian pyramids as sleep overcame him once again.

* * *

Roy casually walked across the gridded flight deck of the launch bay to where Leon was packing his gear in a duffel bag. “Remember that idea I told you about?” Leon stopped packing and looked up slowly as other Replicant troops ran toward their prepped fighters. “Yeah” he said, looking around slowly. Roy stared off into the hallway on the far side of the bay toward the next port, “Be ready. I’ll get in touch with the others. This attack may be exactly what we need . . . a nice diversion.” Alarms blared as he thought, “Where are we anyway?”

Leon pulled a star chart from the pocket of his flight suit and opened it up, indicating a small cluster of stars. “Here. See the three that make up the belt down here? That puts us about where Orion’s shoulder would be.”

Roy looked up from the map toward the front of the bay in time to see an attack ship bearing down on the bay, flames trailing from her twisted hull in a blinding stream. He grabbed Leon and the two ran for the hallway as the flaming, crippled ship crashed headlong into the rim of the bay’s launch port, exploding in a spectacular fireball of gases and superheated debris, damaging the bay’s airlock systems. There was a howling rush as the airlock failed and the air inside was sucked out into the cold blackness of space. Screaming Replicant pilots and their fighter craft were also pulled out. The two running men dove into the adjacent hall just as the emergency airlock doors came slamming down.

Roy’s eyes were wide as he and Leon stood up, “Find us a ship. We’re going now. We can slip away in the confusion. I’ll get the others and find us some clothes. We won’t blend in long wearing these slave jumpsuits” he said, running a hand over his sleeve. Nodding, Leon headed off down an intersecting corridor toward the bay on the far side of the station as Roy ran off down the main passage toward the Officer’s club.

* * *

Eldon Tyrell spoke softly into the vid-phone, “So, the attack has begun, has it Commander Rosen? Excellent.” He removed his glasses, wiping them on his robe. “Be very careful. Everyone must think this attack is a random act if this is to work.” He looked through the clean lenses and then replaced them on his face.

“Mr. Tyrell, this has to work flawlessly. This can’t turn into another Tanhauser Incident. That would set us back years if not decades.”

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“Not to fear, my dear Commander. Mistakes were most certainly made at the Tanhauser Gate Colony. Although that team in 2017 was primarily Nexus 6 models, there was a contingent of Nexus 3’s that were in the mix. This time they will all be from the 6th generation.

The Nexus 6 that will rise as the leader this time was part of the group involved at the Tanhauser Incident. In addition to his firsthand knowledge, he has been gifted additional implanted memories from the leader of that group. He will learn from the mistakes of ‘his’ collective memories of the event.

I know we both intimately understand the importance of this plan. If asked, deny any and all knowledge of this operation, and I’m sure that you’ll be awarded Admiral’s status by years’ end.”

“Yes, sir.” Came the response and the vid-phone screen went black.

Tyrell smiled as his perched owl lazily turned its head to stare at the aging genius.

* * *

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Excellent start! Dude, you should get an agent, or at least think about self-publishing when the time comes.

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Im a big fan of bladerunner.

This like many other stories has got to feel like the original stuff.

I would like to say so far it "feels" like im reading a bit of the original style of P.k ****.

Brilliant, keep up the good work.

cheers for posting

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the posts and the kind words.

I am really feeling my way through this one, so if anyone here sees something that's not BR canon and wants to point it out, please let me know.

The posts may come slow, but I will make sure they do come.

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For anyone reading this story, I have edited the original story while on holiday and have re-shaped it some.

The edits have been made in the FIRST post of this thread and all of my subsequent old postings with extra material have been deleted.

Going forward, new material will follow in my new posts.

I hope you like the changes and what is to come.

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Here's a little more:

The malleable explosive was kneaded in strong hands and pressed firmly into place. Leon withdrew the last of the stolen ignition timers from his flight suit and pressed it firmly into the soft putty and activated it. The clanging of a wrench on the deck to his right startled him for an instant. “Hey, what’re you doing there, Leon?” He turned his head to see one of the flight mechanics placing a few tools on the tech bench, then bend down for the one he had dropped.

“Just grabbing a few supplies to take over to the other bay.”

The mechanic looked confused, “I thought the other bay was destroyed in the first attack wave?”

As he looked back over to Leon, the Replicant brought his weapon up squarely into the mechanic’s face and fired without thinking twice, blowing the back out of his head all over the workbench behind. The stunned mechanic stood for a moment wide–eyed before his legs buckled. Leon grabbed him by the colllar, looking down into his dead face. He noted the embroidered name on the man’s breast patch, “Kowalski, huh? I like that” he said as he dropped the man to the floor, “Leon Kowalski.”

Alarm claxons blared throughout the hangar as he boarded the ship. Pris and Mary ran out of one of the side hallways and scampered about under the hulll removing the docking umbilical lines and fueling sensors. Zhora and the sixth Replicant, Andy, who ran in behind them, entered the ship as the others finished and followed behind them. Leon now had the engines idling and readied for liftoff as the others joined him onboard.

Roy entered the bay behind them, headed for the entry ramp, his arms and hands stained red with blood and carrying Rosen’s long, black leather officer’s coat. He stopped momentarily, just long enough to unzip his coveralls and drop them to the floor. He stepped out of the slave garb, now wearing only a light grey shirt and dark grey pants. He slipped on the black leather coat, pulling the thick collar up high on his neck as he stepped foot on the ramp. He was the last onboard, closing and sealing the hatch. Leon, noting the sensor for the closed hatch, lifted the small supply ship from its landing gear and slipped it through the shield membrane into the bone-chilling cold of space.

As it throttled away from the station, the explosives Leon had set began to erupt in brilliant crimson blossoms, crippling the station’s atmospheric shield generators. Once the shields failed, as in the other damaged launch bay, all the air, loose tools and bodies of the scattered dead in the bay were sucked out into space behind them. The hurtling, ejected corpse of one of the technicians slammed into the viewport Zhora and Mary were looking through. In the vacuum outside, it smeared blood across the outside of the glass just before its rapidly expanding body expelled all bodily fluids and internal organs from whichever orifice offered the least resistance.

Leon was strapped into the pilot’s seat in the cockpit maneuvering their ship away from the station, which was now swarming with attack ships. Roy sat beside him grinning from ear to ear, eyes darting this way and that following the agile attack ships. One of the ships he was watching took a hit and rolled over into a steady stream of fire coming from the dorsal cannons of the station. For a split second it splintered into a silent, beautiful explosion of color and vaporizing metal fragments. The flash reflected in Roy’s wide eyes. Something in him had snapped. He wanted more life, and he didn’t care who stood in his way or what he had to do to get it.

* * *

“****. That was a weird dream, pal” said Bryant as he and Holden helped Deckard rearrange the chairs in the interrogation room. Holden closed one tearing eye as the smoke from the cigarette clenched in his lips drifted up and into it. He dragged deeply and pulled it away, exhaling purposefully, blowing smoke across the table, “Yeah, that’s pretty out there Deck, even for you. If you ask me, you need to plug yourself back up to the mood organ, buddy. Despite all the valiant efforts, the Johnny Walker isn’t enough by itself.” The smoke drifted beautifully through the intense shafts of light streaming down from overhead. Deckard gave a half-smile as Holden and Bryant both laughed.

Holden reached down to the floor beside the table leg, grabbed his VK machine and set it down on the table. He unlatched the case and folded it open, setting it up for an interrogation.

“Do we have somebody to put on the machine?” asked Deckard. Bryant glanced at Holden as the latter gave the response, “You, buddy.”

“Me?”, said Deckard as he raised his eyebrows incredulously, “Well that should be fun. What the **** is putting me on it gonna prove?” Holden continued with the setup as he responded, looking up when he could, “My machine’s been giving false readings. I noticed it starting to intermittently spasm during my last interrogation. You remember that NEX-5 we uncovered over at the refinery? It stretched that session out to almost 40 questions before I knew for sure. When I got back, I took the VK unit in and had the techs downstairs rewire it. I want to check the calibration on a human . . . make sure it registers a flat 0-0-0 on everything before I entrust my life to it with a Replicant subject.”

“Well, I can understand that, I guess.” was Deckard’s response. “Come get me when you’re all ready. I’m going out to my desk for a few minutes.” Gaff sidestepped, passing him in the doorway, cane in hand, and walked into the room heading for Bryant as Deckard stepped through the door to leave.

“Sure. I won’t take long.” replied Dave.

Deckard made his way through the maze of small desks to his little corner of the universe, a real wooden desk and chair, nicely broken in and comfortable. As he sat down and reached over for the vid-phone, the front of the broken armrest slipped out of place. He dialed with one hand and with an audible exhale venting his frustration, he repositioned the armrest. Once again he made a mental note, the way he did every time he sat down, to remember to fix it. Once again he would become involved in something else and forget all about it until he sat down again and it slipped out of place. It was nice to know things were still as they should be, however like dysfunctional clockwork they might be appear the outside observer.

What the **** was Gaff doing now, more brown-nosing of Bryant? He heard the first ring on the vid-phone as he thought more about the gimp. He got the whole “injured cop that still has something to give” thing, but come on; he wouldn’t exactly be able to contribute to the team effort, not in the field, anyway, and certainly not with the physical requirements in this division. If he stayed on, Bryant needed to put him on desk duty, and not in Rep-Detect.

The vid-phone rang and rang, but no one activated the camera on the other end of the line. Somewhere in his empty house across town, his electric sheep lay on the floor with a drained battery, too weak to lift its head and look at the sound the vid-phone was making. He hung up the receiver. Apparently she’s left, or is ignoring me, he thought to himself as he watched Gaff stroll out of the interrogation room, followed by Holden, who was waving him over. Deckard nodded his head, grabbed his cup of coffee and headed back across the room.

Bryant was settled in a chair in the corner prepared to watch, and Holden was adjusting the lighting, dimming it down as he stepped into the room and closed the door, shutting out the distracting noise of the outer office. Holden sat down behind the machine. The mechanical bellows on the side of the Voight-Kampff machine began to rise and fall with a looping hiss followed by an exhale. Deckard took a seat across from him, sipping on his coffee.

The optical scanner ring elevated itself into place and acquired the edges of Deckard’s pupil as its focal point.

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Sorry readers, I re-edited the two posts again . . . just trying to refine what I have, and narrowing in on more of a direction than when I began.

I hope you are liking it so far.

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I wanted to share . . .

I have been posting this story and my Star Wars story up at the fanfiction community: http://www.fanlib.com.

This morning I logged in only to see that my Blade Runner story is being featured on the animated image on the homepage!! :-O

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I am very excited and honored by this. It's a big deal on that site and I thought I would share here as well!

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Here's a little more to the story:

Dave entered the subject’s data and switched on the recording mode, glancing at the display showing only Deckard’s eye.

Bryant coughed in the corner as Dave began the test, “Deckard, Rick. Ok. You’re walking along a secluded beach and come upon a young boy fishing from the ocean. He has a bucket full of caught fish.”

Deckard cupped the bottom of his coffee and lowered the cup as he replied, “I’d put on gloves, take the torture device from him and call Haz-Mat.”

Holden nodded slightly, noting the -0-0-0- readings on the machine. He sucked in a lungful of smoke from his cigarette and exhaled it through his nose. “You discover that the wife of a good friend is cheating on him with her neighbor’s husband any chance she gets.”

“I’d take him out for a drink and tell him.”

Holden moved his head around the optical scanner to look into Deckard’s eyes, “He tells you he’s known for months and already has plans in place to kill them both that weekend.”

“I’d ask the bartender for the bottle and try to convince my friend that killing them won’t solve anything and that he . . . .”

*

Bryant rubbed his eyes and squinted to read the time on his watch in the dim light. Almost an hour had gone by since they had started the test. He looked over at Holden who was noting that the last response had registered a -0-0-0- on the VK machine.

Deckard was obviously ready to be finished, tapping his fingers rapidly now on the right arm of his chair, his near-empty coffee cup in the other.

Holden looked up, continuing “Your synthetic animal develops a glitch and needs to go in for servicing. While it’s away at the shop, you have a dream that your wife becomes a snake in the forest. A wild unicorn comes running through the trees and tramples her.”

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Deckard abruptly stood up from his chair, flipping it backwards to the floor as he threw his cup against the wall, spraying cold coffee across the room, “You know, I can’t do this anymore, I quit.”

Bryant laughed and a stunned Holden sucked on yet another cigarette in the smoke-filled room.

“No, I’m serious. I quit. I’m officially retired.” He opened the door and left the room, heading for his desk. Holden dragged deeply on his cigarette, eyeing Deckard carefully as Bryant straightened up, calling after him, “Go home, Deck, take a couple of days. You’re under a lot of stress. Holden can take your caseload while you get your head on straight.”

Bryant stood up from the chair in the corner and stretched “He’ll calm down. You want to get some lunch, Dave? I’m starving”

There was no reply. Bryant looked over at Holden and saw he was staring at the display, his cigarette hanging precariously from his lower lip.

The last response had registered a -1-3-5- on the VK machine.

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* * *

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A little more:

The pleasure model, Pris, sat in the dark next to Mary, Zhora and Andy. They had been designed with a high threshold for pain, heat and cold. That genetic alteration was now serving them well as the interior walls of the small ship were now frosting over with ice crystals. The four Replicants here in the cargo area were quite comfortable and content in the bitter cold.

Leon had diverted all of the small craft’s secondary internal power to the engines to get them this far and it was now, for all intents and purposes, nearly a lifeless ship. It had taken them almost as far as it could. Batty sat silently in the co-pilot’s seat peering out at the darkness while Leon surveyed his star charts and checked their heading on the dimly illuminated instruments. “We’re just off the coast on a momentum path headed toward a colony relay station. It’s not far. I think we can make it”

Roy adjusted the focus of his eyes off the distant stars light-years away and refocused on the reflection of Leon’s face in the glass just in front of his face. “I was beginning to lose faith in you. Shuttles carrying people on their way from Earth pass through those fuel and provision stockpile stations all the time on their way to the colonies. If we can make it that far, I’m sure that between the six of us, we can find a way to convince someone that we need their ship more than they do.”

As Roy finished speaking, a smile spread across his face and a garbled, static-laden voice emerged from the hissing. Leon pulled on the leather headset and adjusted the mic tip up to his mouth, “Mayday! Mayday! Our ship has lost power. We need help.”

Through the static finally came a voice, “Copy that distress call. This is Off-World Transports Flight 2187. You are on a glide path headed for our destination at the relay station just ahead. Please advise. Can you make that location or should we attempt to directly dock with you?”. Leon glanced over at Roy, who thought for a moment. Then he put his hands together symbolizing a docking motion and looked back at Leon.

“Off-World Transports, We have almost no power or heat, and are in need of an emergency docking. Four of our six passengers need medical attention due to exposure to the frigid cold in here.”

“Copy that. Coming around. The threshold is now primed and ready for docking procedure. We currently have a crew of three, and twenty passengers onboard that are anxious to get to the colonies, but I think it’s safe to say we can squeeze another six in here.”

Leon flipped several switches as he responded, “Docking threshold primed and ready.”

Roy smiled as he pulled his collar up higher, “Looks like we found our ship.”

* * *

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Thanks Seth!

Deckard pulled his collar up higher around his neck. A cold, gusting wind blew in from the direction of the Pacific, flinging and transforming the otherwise innocuous raindrops into a stinging assault on his exposed skin. His drenched hair lay flat, matted against his head, his eyes squinting. He carried several parcels wrapped in brown paper, now stained in a speckled pattern by the tiny water droplets, and made his way along the busy sidewalk until he came to the entrance to his apartment building.

Water rained off his coat as he entered the dim lobby. He rapidly brushed his fingers through his hair, shaking off yet more water. Several old residents sat in outdated furniture by the large glass panels staring out at the rain. One old woman turned her head to watch him pass by. The elevators were just ahead, and he sneezed violently as he proceeded on to the call buttons, pressing the upturned arrow.

A whirring sound emanated from somewhere behind the art deco elevator doors as the car was summoned from a higher level. His bloodshot eyes were burning and he shook with chills from a fever. Generally, he felt like he had been hit and dragged ten city blocks by a bio-waste removal truck. It took every ounce of energy he had just to stand and wait.

Finally the car arrived and the ornate doors parted. He stepped inside. “Deckard. 97th floor” and leaned against the side wall of the car which vibrated as he began his ascent. He reached into the brown paper wrappings of one of the three items in his arms and pulled out a tall, clear bottle. Almost without effort, he skillfully removed the wrapped stopper and placing the bottle to his lips, raised it high, swallowed a large mouthful of the clear Asian liquor. His sore throat burned even more now.

He lowered the bottle and wiped his mouth, then rubbed the cool bottle across the furrowed skin of his forehead. His head pounded with a splitting headache and chills raced along his spine and spread to his fingertips and toes in an invisible wave washing over his skin. He needed rest. This flu or whatever it was he had caught was draining his energy.

After what seemed like hours, the elevator doors parted, emptying him out into the hallway which led to his place. It was a good fit for him, low-key, stylish, efficient. The substantial door closed solidly behind him as he stepped into the comforting darkness.

* * *

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WOO HOO!

I just order a pair of these glasses. I can't wait to sip some tsing tao while I watch the FINAL CUT.

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More on the story soon.

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I wanted to thank you for reading the beginning of my story (also found in this forum. <!-- s:) --><!-- s:) -->

I just posted up a short new addition, and would love to hear what people think, good or bad about the story thusfar. I know people are reading it based on the number of views.

I also was wondering what you think about another idea I had . . . about making Pris pregnant with Roy's baby?

She doesn't know for sure, but she exhibits signs, and he seems to have figured it out. This makes his quest for more life more emotinoally based and his sorrow and rage at her death that much deeper.

Here is a short snippet of the next portion of what I am writing to add to what's already posted. What do you think? Replicants making Replicants - possible? Plausible? Probable?

Here is the snippet:

"Leon shoved the limp body of a flight officer through the narrow hatch and watched it tumble down the mound of lifeless bodies already sprawled across the frozen deck of their dead supply ship. He looked around, sweeping the still, cold room for any signs of life from any of the colonists or crew members. When he was certain there were none, he pulled his head and shoulders back out of the cold ship and closed the small hatch over, sealing it.

With the connection to their old ship closed off, he backed back out of the narrow docking collar, and stepped out into the new, larger shuttle. He closed the hatch over, clamped it shut, and walked away heading for the cockpit. Pressure seals hissed as the hidden, inner hatch airlock mechanisms seated themselves.

In the main passenger area, Mary and Zhora sat on either side of Pris, who had begun to look and feel rather seasick. Andy was rummaging through a crate of food supplies seeking a makeshift breakfast for everyone. He pulled out a handful of dried fruit energy bars and began handing them out. After making sure everyone had taken one, he wandered off toward the cockpit to deliver one to Leon and Roy.

The thick aroma of exotic fruits filled the air as Mary and Zhora opened the packaging of their bars and began eating. Pris just eyed hers still wrapped up tight. Her stomach began flipping inside as if she were going to be sick from the smell. Mary noticed her expression and put an arm around Pris, rubbing her shoulder as she continued eating her own fruit bar.

Suddenly, Pris stood up and darted for the bathroom, dropping her bar with a clank on the deck plates. Soon after, the cabin was filled with the intermittent sounds of her vomiting. Mary went to look after her and see if she needed help.

Zhora simply stared out the porthole, watching the stars slip by as the shuttle undocked and pulled away, slipping along the rim of the coast, heading for Earth."

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The glasses were just delivered to my desk at work.

They are beautiful . . . unbelievable . . . hand-crafted Italian crystal. Very heavy, and laser etched on the bottom.

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The website is here: http://www.arnolfodicambio.com/web/azienda.html

And the add for the glass:

http://www.arnolfodicambio.com/web/imma ... grande.jpg

The designer, Cini Boeri, can be seen here (#2 on the list)

http://www.arnolfodicambio.com/web/designer.html

While those sites are cool, HERE is where to buy them for less $$$:

http://props.steinschneider.com/blade_r ... _glass.htm

Tell Phil Steinschneider I sent you! They ship from Sterling VA! (Not too far from me)

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OK, here's the next post to the story:

Leon shoved the limp body of a young flight officer through the narrow hatch and watched it tumble down the mound of lifeless bodies already sprawled across the frozen deck of their dead supply ship. The dead man’s head hung precariously, twisted and backwards. Roy had spun it right off its’ feeble, human spinal column in a single violent motion, ending his life instantly. That makes twenty-three, he thought to himself. He looked around, sweeping the still, cold room for any signs of life from any of the colonists or crew members. When he was certain there were none, he pulled his head and shoulders back out of the cold ship and closed the small hatch over, sealing it.

With the connection to their old ship closed off, he backed back out of the narrow docking collar, and stepped back into the new, larger shuttle. He closed the hatch over, clamped it shut, and walked away heading for the cockpit. Pressure seals hissed as the hidden, inner hatch airlock mechanisms seated themselves.

In the main passenger area, Mary and Zhora sat on either side of Pris, who had begun to look and feel rather seasick. Andy was rummaging through a crate of food supplies seeking a makeshift breakfast for everyone. He pulled out a handful of dried fruit energy bars and began handing them out. After making sure everyone had taken one, he wandered off toward the cockpit to deliver one to Leon and Roy. There was a loud noise as the shuttle released its hold from the docking collar threshold of the supply ship and drifted away. Moments later, the main engines were engaged and the shuttle pulled away from the drifting morgue it left behind.

The thick aroma of exotic fruits filled the air as Mary and Zhora opened the packaging of their bars and began eating. Pris just eyed hers, still wrapped up and airtight. Her stomach began flipping inside as if she were going to be sick from the heavy smell. Mary noticed her expression and put an arm around Pris, rubbing her shoulder as she continued eating her own fruit bar.

Suddenly, Pris stood up and darted for the bathroom, dropping her bar with a clank on the deck plates. Soon after, the cabin was filled with the intermittent sounds of her vomiting. Mary went to look after her and see if she needed help.

Zhora simply stared out the porthole, watching the stars slip by as the shuttle proceeded along the rim of the coast, heading for Earth. Then she stood up, stroking the huge snake draped firmly around her shoulders, and walked toward the cockpit, passing Andy, who was headed the other way. She stuck her head in through the cockpit hatch, looking over toward Roy, “There’s something wrong with Pris.”

She saw his head move slightly toward her. He stood up, paused and glanced over to Leon, touching him on the shoulder, “Los Angeles. Get us as close as safely possible.” Leon nodded as Roy stared pensively off into nothingness for a moment, then briskly pushed past Zhora toward the rear of the ship.

* * *

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Hi Seth,

Good to hear from you. I have to tell you it was REALLY hard clicking the BUY NOW button on the web page, but I have put them off, and come close, and put them off, and I decided that waiting since 1982 was long enough.

I cannot praise them enough. The first drink I had in them was whiskey, and it was perfect. The weight of the glasses is amazing . . . solid. Each one produces a different tone when struck, indicating that they are in fact hand made and not mass produced.

Even my wife liked them! And she doesn't get excited about ANY props. She said they have a classic look and felt nice to hold.

That about says it all right there. I highly recommend them!!

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I'm sure it was, although those tend to be the most satisfying purchases once it is in hand. I think all of my most valued props made me cringe slightly when I paid for them. No regrets though. I've been on a PKD reading spree, I just finished Ubik, The Man in the High Castle, and finally decided to let myself read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (I've been afraid it would not measure up to the film, ha!). This summer I want to build up a "laser tube" as seen in my mind's eye. Also, maybe during lunch breaks at work, I plan on mocking up a aerosol can "Ubik" label.

I recently made a BR purchase but will sit on that until it arrives and I can photograph it.

Oh, and re: pregnant Replicants, I don't know how that really sits with me for what its worth. Bookwise they completely lack empathy, while Batty discovers it in the film, but only with his own death impending. I have a hard time with the idea of an empathy-less entity reproducing. Its an interesting twist though and I think you should explore it (caveat- I haven't read you additions yet) it could result in an interesting angle. When thinking about a replicant caring for a child I can only think of the spider scene from the book though.

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Sounds like you've been busy!

I've not read all of them, but did read DADoES, and enjoyed it. It is rather like an uncle to the movie rather than a parent. Similar, but very different.

I can't wait to see your latest purchse.

I just paid for outer feet for my R2 unit yesterday. OUCH!

Oh well, baby has to stand up!!

The whole thing with replicants reproducing is a little odd, but I thought maybe Mary would have been a trial, especially with her name and the religious implications. It would have been fun for her to have been the test, artificially impregnated by Tyrell to see if she could carry the child to term.

I think I will progress in the story with her being the one who assists Pris in finding the unscrupulous off-world doctor to perform the necessary "repairs" and render her fertile.

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Here's a bit more to the story:

The engines of Deckard’s Spinner were silenced now as he walked across a roughly plowed field, lost in thought. The reddish brown dirt was freshly turned and soft; his feet sank slightly in the aerated soil with each step he took. A thick fog hung in the crisp morning air; the damp, white curtain obscuring visibility to within a few feet, revealing only his immediate surroundings down low, near the ground.

He heard the sound of mechanized farm equipment in the distance, lost somewhere in the misty ether of the pale shroud, but kept on a straight course up a gradual hill, heading toward the small farmhouse he couldn’t see, but knew was there. A small scruffy dog appeared out of the fog, barking at him yet keeping his distance from the stranger at his home. Deckard kept walking. The animal was being protective, but posed no threat to him.

He stepped up to, and across, the warped floor of the porch, finding the white front door unlocked. He drew his weapon silently and pushed open the door, entering the house. He smelled something cooking as he moved through the front hall. Until he was out of sight, the dog’s barking continued; then it ran off, back into the mist. The old wooden floorboards creaked beneath his feet as he eyed the piano in the parlor.

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He carefully scanned each room as he passed, his hand gripping his outstretched gun, making sure no one was home.

As he made his way down the narrow hall to the rear of the house past the bedrooms, he found himself in a large, bright kitchen. This room, like the others, had been left in an immaculate state; everything in its place. A large metal pot simmered on the stovetop, slight wisps of steam periodically escaping from beneath its lid.

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Rolling his head side to side, looking over the small table and chairs to the left, Deckard moved toward the stove, holstering his gun. There was a bowl and a large spoon resting on a small plate on the counter beside the pot. It was covered in a thin, brown sauce and had obviously already been used for stirring the contents of the pot. Grabbing a towel from the oven door handle, he carefully lifted the lid.

A roll of steam curled up as he did, and the smell of blended meat, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables escaped the pot of bubbling soup. Immediately his mouth salivated. It had been a long time since he had eaten a decent home-cooked meal like this. He replaced the lid and walked over to the table, pulled out one of the chairs and sat down to wait. He unbuttoned the collar and first few buttons of his coat and got comfortable, settling in.

The minutes slipped by into hours, and although the sun appeared as a brief glare behind the dense clouds just after noon, the milky fog failed to burn away. The afternoon light was beginning to fade when the farmer, who had been out plowing all day, returned home, entering through the back door, in a little room off the kitchen, opposite where Deckard sat. He could only see the farmer’s shadow moving against the wall as he removed muddy boots. They hit the ground with a thud, and the farmer walked into the kitchen, heading straight for the pot, not noticing his visitor seated at the table.

He was a large fellow in bib overalls, dirtied with reddish-brown earth and the stains of sweat under his arms.

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He grabbed the sides of his protective goggles, pulling them off his eyes and up onto his forehead as he noticed the towel which now lay out of place beside the stirring spoon.

With it, he picked the lid up off the pot, smelling the delicious aroma as he slowly stirred and turned over the contents of the thickening soup. “You want some soup?” he asked, as he filled his bowl, only briefly turning his head to glance at Deckard before returning his eyes to the pot.

Deckard said nothing, but sat up straighter in the chair. “Who are you with, anyway? asked the farmer turning toward him and taking a mouthful of soup from the bowl in his hand. “I’m Deckard, Blade Runner” came Deck’s cold response as he unceremoniously drew the gun from beneath his raincoat and discharged it several times squarely into the farmer’s chest.

The soup bowl went flying, as the farmer was thrown back into the counter and slumped to the floor in front of the cabinets beneath. Deckard holstered his gun and stood up, walking to the stove. He opened one cabinet, than another until he found an empty bowl. He glanced at the body as he served himself.

The pulsing flow of crimson blood from the farmer’s chest coursed heavily for near a minute or so, and then tapered off, finally stopping altogether. Deckard finished off his bowl of soup, licking the soup from his fingers as the farmer’s life drained away with his blood. He cocked his head to the side, watching for any signs of life. The twitching spasms in the limbs stopped, and he figured brain death had finally occurred. When all motion stopped, he placed his empty soup bowl beside the sink and turned off the stove.

Wiping the corners of his mouth with his hand, he approached the slumped form on the floor and squatted before it. With his left hand, Deck grabbed a handful of the farmer’s hair, holding his head firmly against the cabinet door behind. With his right, he went to the side of the neck, feeling for a pulse. Confident there was none, he grabbed the farmer’s jaw, pulling it down hard with a fast jerk. There was a loud ratcheting sound as he did.

Then he reached inside the mouth, hooked his fingers behind the ridge of teeth in the lower jaw and pulled up hard. The jaw bone and teeth released into his grasp and came away freely as he let go of the hair.

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The lifeless head dropped back against the bloody overalls, and he stood, studying the stainless steel “jawbone”.

With his thumb, we wiped away a slice of potato, revealing a serial number stamped along its edge, ending in the numbers -002. He shook his head, “Nexx 2”.

From within his pocket, he produced a clear plastic bag into which he dropped the jaw. He sealed the bag and slipped it into the pocket of his raincoat. Leaving the dead replicant on the floor, he walked out the front door, wiping blood from his hands on the kitchen towel. He tossed the stained towel on the porch and stepped back into the fog-covered dirt heading for his Spinner.

The little dog once again appeared, barking at him as he walked away. To his right, he noticed the vague outline of the machinery he had heard earlier.

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The dog stopped following him, but continued barking as Deckard disappeared into the mists.

The Spinner door folded forward, and he stepped inside, closing it over behind him. As the engines started up, the dog appeared a few feet away, still barking. Small pieces of the turned earth were blasted away from his vehicle, and the dog’s fur was blown as the Spinner lifted up and ascended into the fog.

- -

Deckard sat on the sofa in his apartment, with blankets wrapped around his shoulders as he closed the case file. He vividly remembered the farmer's face, and that first assignment in the Blade Runner unit. He was sure Bryant would eventually discover that he had this paperwork, along with all the rest of his case files he had dumped out on the coffee table. He shivered and pulled the blanket closer, reaching for his drink. He swallowed deeply, returning the glass to the table.

It was easy in those days, he thought to himself. The Nexx 2 and 3 Replicants were still partially cyborgs, embedded in living tissue. Now, the new generation Nexxus fives and sixes were made from cloned organs and body structures; genetically synthesized and completely living. Slamming the case file on top of the pile, he reached for another drink. He was glad he made the choice to leave. Iran was gone, and a clean, fresh start would do him good.

He stood and moved to his bed, climbing on and collapsing into the rumpled pillows and covers, the blanket from the sofa still around his shoulders. He needed to kick this, whatever it was, and then maybe head over to his house and see what she had left behind, if anything. That would keep at least until morning he thought, and closed his eyes, descending into the warm embrace of sleep.

* * *

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a little more:

Pris flushed the toilet as Mary helped her to her feet. She leaned over the small metal sink and raised a cupped handful of the running water up, rinsing the bitter taste of vomit from her mouth; Mary’s hands on her shoulders, steadying her shaking body. Roy had made his way to the rear of the ship as they were emerging into the cooler air of the hold. “Thank you, Mary” he said, “I’ll see to her now.”

She nodded and allowed Roy to take Pris from her. She moved away from the pair, glancing back sympathetically before disappearing through the hatch to head back to the others.

Pris’ eyes were closed, and she leaned against Roy’s shoulder as he kissed the top of her head, “Do you think we did the right thing seeing that doctor?” she said, running a hand over her flat belly, “Or were we stupid?”

He smiled, and kissed her head again, “Pris, Pris. No. We were not stupid. With the new knowledge of our incept dates and longevity, it was a need. Going to Earth to confront Tyrell is a possible and likely extension for our lives, but for a bloodline, a legacy, a part of us that Tyrell didn’t create, well . . .this is our best hope for that” he said, rubbing her belly. “Even with an extension, we all die. It's no use reminding yourself daily that you are mortal: it will be brought home to you soon enough

Pris, wishing she was as smart as he, looked into his face, studying him as he quoted. “Who said that?” she asked.

He looked down at her, as his superior mind raced through his implanted memories. “Albert Camus, an Algerian born, French author and philosopher from the last century.”

Mary re-entered the room, “I just felt I should check on her. After all, it was me that got you two into this. Am I interrupting anything?”

Pris looked to Roy, then over to her, “No.”

“I thought maybe I’d sit with you until we get to Earth.”

Roy squeezed Pris a bit and released her, “I’ll be in the cockpit with Leon. The trip will most likely take us a week or so.” He turned his attention to Mary as Andy walked through the door with the box of snack bars, “Let me know if anything changes.”

Mary nodded and Andy moved closer to Pris, “Would you like a bar now?”

Mary wrapped her arms around Pris and turned to Andy, “She’s still feeling sick, Hodge, and will be for some time, I expect. Leave her alone for now. She’ll ask for one if she wants it.”

“I prefer my stage name Andy. Please don’t call me Hodge anymore; it reminds me of people and places I’d rather forget” and he turned and walked away.

The two female replicants walked over to a cushioned bench in the passenger area where Pris lay down; her head in Mary’s lap. Mary sat beside her, one hand on Pris’ shoulder, the other stroking her hair gently.

* * *

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